Palace: Only foreign warships need PH gov’t clearance
MANILA, Philippines – Only foreign warships are required to secure a clearance from the government before passing through Philippine territorial waters, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the clarification after announcing last week that “all foreign vessels passing our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage.”
READ: PH to act in ‘unfriendly manner’ vs unauthorized passage of foreign vessels
He said he talked to President Rodrigo Duterte who made the clarification.
“It’s okay for merchant vessels not to inform us because they are merchant vessels. Warships need to seek clearance from us,” he said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net
Duterte’s order on clearance requirement for foreign warships came after Chinese warships and survey ships were spotted in Philippine waters without the government’s knowledge and consent.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has already filed diplomatic protests over the unauthorized transits of Chinese warships in Philippine territorial waters.
Panelo earlier said foreign warships passing through Philippine territorial waters without clearance would be dealt with in an “unfriendly manner.”
But Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said seeking clearance before making an innocent passage in one’s territorial waters is not needed under UNCLOS.
Panelo, however, insisted that foreign warships need to secure a clearance from the Philippine government for their security.
“You know the President himself said ‘to avoid misunderstanding.’ That means, it’s better that we know so we can secure them,” he said. /gsg
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